The Philadelphia 76ers have reached a moment of reckoning in their history. It’s clear now that “The Process” failed, as it didn’t yield any playoff run past the second round.
More of the intrigue around the 76ers’ draft revolves around Ben Simmons trade scenarios than what Philadelphia will do with either of its two picks. Nevertheless, if the Sixers can find a solid rookie and get a haul for Simmons, that combination could vault them into championship contention.
Here’s a draft preview for the 76ers, including a mock draft, potential options for their late first-round pick at 28th overall and, yes, trade scenarios.
Philadelphia 76ers 2021 NBA Draft picks
- First round, 28th pick
- Second round, 50th pick
Philadelphia 76ers Mock Draft
- 27. Brooklyn Nets: Ziaire Williams, forward, Stanford
- 28. Philadelphia 76ers: Matthew Hurt, forward, Duke
- 29. Phoenix Suns: Terrence Shannon Jr., guard, Texas Tech
Philadelphia 76ers draft Matthew Hurt at No. 28
As uncertain as the future of the point guard position is in Philly, the frontcourt depth behind Joel Embiid leaves a lot to be desired. Tobias Harris functions fine as a stretch 4, yet that doesn’t give coach Doc Rivers as much rotation versatility as he’d probably like heading into next season.
That’s where someone like Matthew Hurt could come into play. A 6-foot-9 big man who played two years at Duke, Hurt is an outstanding 3-point shooter. He hit 42.1% of his attempts from beyond the arc on 233 shots with the Blue Devils.
The fact that he already has such advanced shooting bodes well for Hurt’s transition to the NBA as a classic stretch 4. His size, ability to create off the dribble solid post and mid-range game, along with finishing dexterity at the rim, make Hurt’s skill set intriguing on offense.
Hurt’s ability to space the floor and add a dynamic element to the Sixers’ second unit — not to mention, providing injury insurance for the often-hurt Embiid — makes him a solid pick for Philly. He’ll just need to shore up his form on the defensive end to avoid being a liability there.
Philadelphia 76ers draft Miles McBride at No. 28
The West Virginia Mountaineers are coached by the ultimate old-school, hard-nosed leader in Bob Huggins. His emphasis on defense, grit and flat-out work bode well for Miles McBride’s jump to the pros.
As a sophomore, McBride saw his 3-point shooting jump a remarkable 11%. He averaged 1.9 steals per contest and averaged 15.8 points, and just under four rebounds and five assists.
McBride is the type of floor general Philadelphia would embrace right away. Listed at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, he’s an excellent athlete with a thickly-built frame that should help him handle the rigors of a long NBA regular season.
Not much downside to this pick if the Sixers think it’s better to have some insurance in the backcourt, in the event Simmons is still on the team by this point.
Philadelphia 76ers draft Nah’Shon Hyland at No. 28
Playing for a strong mid-major team at VCU, Nah’Shon Hyland flashed the explosive scoring potential that should have anyone considering him near the end of the first round really excited.
Some might be scared off by his wiry frame at 6-foot-3 and 165 pounds, yet Hyland shows excellent play strength and plays with an obvious chip on his shoulder — presumably in part because he’s undersized.
Hyland averaged 19.5 points per game for the Rams in 2020-21, and shot 39.9% from 3-point range on 331 career attempts from beyond the arc. Given that he was asked to do a lot on both ends of the court, if Hyland goes to an NBA team with lots of talent around him, he should capitalize on not having as many contested shots.
Since he’s not from a big-name program and lacks the prototypical size of top guard prospects, Hyland is likely to slide on draft night. However, he just might end up being a huge steal in the late first- or early second-round range.
Philadelphia 76ers trade scenarios in 2021 NBA Draft
Every trade scenario is going to revolve around Ben Simmons, so let’s take a look at the primary players Philadelphia could gain in a blockbuster deal centered around the former No. 1 overall draft pick.
- D’Angelo Russell and Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves: Getting a crafty combo guard like Russell who can create his own shot and also distribute with incredible floor vision would be great, but so would netting a veteran like Rubio who knows how to play defense. This package sends George Hill to Minnesota along with Simmons.
- Kemba Walker, Oklahoma City Thunder: Since the Thunder have such a treasure trove of draft assets, they could package together Walker with a bunch of picks and try to pry Simmons away from Philadelphia. Walker is a bit of an injury risk, yet if he can give the Sixers two quality seasons, this deal could be well worth it.
- Malcolm Brogdon, Indiana Pacers: Imagine putting Simmons in Indiana with Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner under the coaching of Rick Carlisle. That combination should appeal to the Pacers. Meanwhile, the Sixers would still have a quality defender at point guard in Brogdon who’s a much better shooter.
Philadelphia 76ers draft preview: A New Process?
Part of the blessing in disguise about The Process’ failure is that the Sixers now have a huge trade chip in Simmons that they can cash in. Some team is going to be too tempted to pass him up, because if he does, in fact, fix his shot, Simmons will be a superstar with a limitless ceiling.
Because Philadelphia has done an exceptional job building out the rest of the roster, getting the right piece back in a Simmons trade, combined with a solid draft pick, could be enough to deliver a championship next season.